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Jeff Whittaker has been a trusted communications advisor at the highest levels of government and industry. Now, no one seems to want his advice. Unemployed at fifty-five, Whittaker volunteers at the Jamieson International Documentary Film Festival, where greater value is placed on his clean driving record than his strategic public relations expertise. He is assigned to chauffer one of the festival's biggest draws-Margaret "Terror" Torrance, a Hollywood star at the top of her game and the bottom of most casting lists. Although inhabitants of different worlds, Whittaker and Torrance share the scars inflicted by personal and professional slings and arrows: Torrance self-reinvented by sheer force of will; Whittaker an unapologetic introvert still scouring his life for meaning. Across five days of film screenings, media interviews, workshops and parties, the actor and the communications expert clash and click, challenging each other to stave off the entropy of middle age. At once perceptive, moving and funny, The Cutting Room captures the brief, spirited encounter between two people facing the second acts of their lives. It's a powerful affirmation of friendship's sturdy bonds, a crisp and compelling first novel about the befuddling peculiarities of contemp